In just his second game back following missing nearly two months, Bonzie Colson almost single handedly willed Notre Dame to an upset of #1 ranked Virginia on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately for Colson and the Irish, the rest of the roster was unable to provide much help. As a result Notre Dame fell 62-57 and now need a deep run in the ACC Tournament to have any chance of getting into the Big Dance.
Bonzie Colson had 18 points and 9 rebounds at half time alone on Saturday afternoon before finishing with 24 points and 15 rebounds. His supporting cast, however, didn’t offer a whole lot of support. Martinas Geben was the only other Notre Dame player in double figures and the Irish did not get any points from their bench. Geben also picked up 10 rebounds for another double-double, his 6th of the season.
Notre Dame struggled shooting from outside hitting just 7 of 24 three pointers. Matt Farrell was just 3 of 11 from three point range alone. Farrell only took four other field goal attempts but missed all of them and ended the game shooting 3 of 15 from the field. Farrell wasn’t the only Irish player to struggle though. Rex Plueger had just two points on 1 of 4 shooting and TJ Gibbs made just 2 of 7 shoots though he did have 8 points.
Despite the struggles, things still looked pretty good for Notre Dame’s upset chances in the second half. With Virginia star Kyle Guy sidelined for much of the second half following a first half knee injury, the Irish held a 43-39 lead with 13:09 remaining. UVA regained the lead, however, and Notre Dame did fell behind for the last time with more than nine minutes remaining and did not hold another lead for the rest of the game.
The Irish had their chances in the final minutes to either tie or take the lead but were unable to capitalize. Matt Farrell got a great look at a three pointer with 1:28 left and the Irish down just two but was unable to connect. A minute later the Irish were still down two but were unable to get off a clean shot and a desperation Bonzie Colson three point attempt fell short resulting in a shot clock violation.
An upset of the #1 ranked team on the road would have been beyond huge for Notre Dame’s NCAA Tournament resume. An upset along with two wins in Brooklyn in the ACC Tournament (Pitt and Virginia Tech) and the Irish looked like a good bet. Without an upset, Notre Dame is going to need at least three wins next week to make their case.